Food safety and security tips because that handling, thawing, roasting, storing, and reheating turkey.

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Minnesota room of consumer Fact sheet Revised August, 2011

Download a print version that this document: Turkey: safe Thawing and Cooking (PDF)

handle Food safe

always wash your hands before and after handling food. keep the kitchen, dishes and utensils clean. constantly serve food on clean plates. execute not use the same platter and utensils for raw and cooked meat/poultry.

Fresh Turkey

to buy the turkey only 1 or 2 days before you arrangement to cook it. keep it save on computer in the refrigerator till you’re ready to chef it. Ar it ~ above a tray or pan to catch any type of juices that may leak. do not buy fresh pre-stuffed turkeys. If not taken on properly, harmful bacteria that might be in the stuffing have the right to multiply rapidly.

Frozen Turkey

save frozen till you’re all set to thaw it. Turkeys deserve to be retained in the freezer indefinitely. However, chef turkeys in ~ 1 year because that the finest quality.

Thawing her Turkey

There are three means to thaw her turkey safely: Thawing in the Microwave Oven: check your owner’s hands-on for the minutes every pound and the strength level to use for thawing. remove all external wrapping. location on a microwave-safe dish to catch any juices that can leak. chef your turkey immediately after thawing in the microwave. execute not refreeze. Thawing in the Refrigerator: store the turkey in its original wrapper. place it top top a tray come catch any type of juices that may leak. A thawed turkey can remain in the refrigerator because that 1 come 2 days. If necessary, a turkey that has been appropriately thawed in the refrigerator may be refrozen.
Thawing in the refrigerator Time to thaw (allow 24 hours for every 4 come 5 pounds)
4 to 12 pounds 1 to 3 days
12 to 16 pounds 3 come 4 days
16 come 20 pounds 4 to 5 days
20 to 24 pounds 5 come 6 days

Thawing in Cold Water: Wrap your turkey securely, making sure water is not able to leak v the wrapping. Submerge the covering turkey in cold insanity water. adjust the water every 30 minutes. cook the turkey automatically after that is thawed. carry out not refreeze.
Thawing in cold water Time come thaw (allow 30 minutes per pound)
4 come 12 pounds 2 come 6 hours
12 come 16 pounds 6 come 8 hours
16 to 20 pounds 8 come 10 hours
20 to 24 pounds 10 to 12 hours
REMINDER : remove the giblets indigenous the turkey cavities after thawing. Cook separately.

Roasting your Turkey

set your stove temperature no reduced than 325 °F. ar the turkey on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. For much more even cooking, it is recommended the you chef your stuffing outside the bird in a casserole dish. Usage a food thermometer to check the internal temperature the the stuffing. The facility should with at least 165°F. If you pick to stuff her turkey, to fill the cavity just prior to cooking. To fill the caries loosely. Use a food thermometer to check the interior temperature the the stuffing. The center should with at least 165°F. To inspect the doneness of a whole turkey, insert a food thermometer in the thickest component of the inside thigh without emotional the bone. A whole turkey have to be cooked come 165°F. To inspect the doneness the a turkey breast, insert a food thermometer in the thickest part of the breast. A turkey breast have to be cooked come 165°F. If your turkey has actually a pop-up temperature indicator, it is recommended that you also check the inner temperature of the turkey and also the stuffing. permit the turkey stand for 20 minutes after cooking. It will carve much more easily. remove all stuffing from the turkey cavities.

REMEMBER : Always wash (with soap and water) hands, utensils, the sink, and also anything else that comes in call with raw turkey and also its juices.

Timetables because that Turkey Roasting (325°F range temperature):

These times space estimates. Constantly use a food thermometer to inspect the interior temperature of your turkey and also stuffing (165°F).

Unstuffed Turkey Time to cook
4 come 8 pounds (breast) 1½ to 3¼ hours
8 come 12 pounds 2¾ to 3 hours
12 come 14 pounds 3 come 3¾ hours
14 come 18 pounds 3¾ to 4¼ hours
18 to 20 pounds 4¼ come 4½ hours
20 to 24 pounds 4½ come 5 hours
Stuffed Turkey Time to chef
4 to 8 pounds (breast) 2½ come 3½ hours
8 come 12 pounds 3 come 3½ hours
12 come 14 pounds 3½ to 4 hours
14 to 18 pounds 4 come 4¼ hours
18 to 20 pounds 4¼ to 4¾ hours
20 to 24 pounds 4¾ to 5¼ hours

save Leftover Turkey

litter away turkey, stuffing, and also gravy left the end at room temperature longer than 2 hrs (1 hour in temperatures above 90 °F). division leftovers into tiny portions. Refrigerate or freeze in covered shallow containers for much faster cooling. usage refrigerated turkey and also stuffing in ~ 3 to 4 days. Use gravy in ~ 1 come 2 days. If freezing, use leftovers in ~ 2 come 6 months for finest quality.

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Reheating Leftovers

Reheat turkey, stuffing, and gravy come 165°F.